Retired enterprise gear to build NVR systems?

We have several locations that need a security camera system redesigned. I am looking for a direction and not a fully architected system. Not saying that it is not required, just not what I am asking for at this stage.

Current limitations

Currently, we use set-top box style DVRs with analog cameras. The system gives us access to view live and recorded footage on phones and the ability to download footage on to PCs. It works, but the storage is limited. Considering the average camera is below 720p, the DVRs are configured to motion detection only, and each DVR has a 3-4TB drive we get as much as two months on most with a little over a month of retention on some with just 12 of the 16 camera ports in use. Some of these DVRs are in warehouse conditions and we end up with drive failures due to poor cooling. We lose 2-4 drives a year.

Site conditions.

  • Some sites we only use one DVR with 12-16 cameras, and our largest location we have six such DVRs for a total of 64-72 cameras. So, we are looking for a flexible system, but the software interface that unified across all locations, so the experience is the same.
  • Most of these locations are warehouses where cameras are high up and require lifts to access, so we need to be able to see what is going on below. We would like to be able to distinguish hand size objects that have been moved from one place to another.
  • We have a separate internet connection and network for our camera systems at each location. It might share some guest WiFi services in some instances, but the network is isolated from anything used for business purposes.

Resources we have available to throw at the project

  • We are an eCycle business. So, we have access to a lot of equipment that might be used to building a good system without any serious investment.
    • We have pallets of dual proc. 4/6/8 core Xeon servers
    • 4-8 TB drives enough to fill those servers to max capacity
    • Retired enterprise-level networking equipment
    • Analog and IP based cameras
    • Anything else you can think of for SMB and enterprise-level used IT equipment

What I envisioned

  • We rack some servers to use as NVRs and/or NAS
  • Stick enough drives to consolidate some of the larger installations into 1-2 servers
  • Possibly get some additional uses out of leftover CPU cycles
  • Most locations are geologically separate, so setup remote backups. If not possible, sneaker net daily footage off-site. Remember each site has its own internet connection.

Questions are

  • What software do we use assuming we want to use this enterprise equipment and not a cloud solution.
  • Do we stay analog cameras and just look to ramp up the quality, or upgrade to IP cameras that can output H.264 or h.265 so we can benefit from having on camera compression and increase the number of cameras a server can support.
  • If we want to double the pixel count and triple the record time retention, we would from 18gb of storage across our 6 DVR to something like 108TB. Maybe less if it was stored in h.265 instead of h.264. Does that seem in the ballpark?

I want to thank you for taking the time to read this post and look forward to answering any questions.

We have a few clients using Exacqvision. It’s not cheap but does work well can can run on your own hardware. I would completely replace all analog cameras with IP ones.

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